Dan Fleser: Stumbling Lady Vols On Brink Of Missing NCAA Field Of 64

Tuesday, February 12, 2019 - by Dan Fleser

Charlie Crème projects NCAA women’s tournament brackets for ESPN and Tennessee always has been among the 64 teams in the field – until Monday.

In Crème’s latest projection, he had the Lady Vols as the first team out. The determination reflected UT’s 15-8 record (4-6 in the SEC) and its RPI of 61. The latest installment was a 91-63 loss at Mississippi State on Sunday.

The Lady Vols, who have made every NCAA tournament field, were on the brink three years ago, when four losses in February sent them into free fall. But they never slipped from Crème’s projections. A solid finish ultimately kept them in the tournament field as well.

“It was a hot topic for two weeks,” Crème said. “They got close (to falling out) but it never got that close.

“It never got this dire you could say. They’re definitely in a more tenuous situation now.”

Tennessee’s status is impacted by what’s occurring in other conferences. For example, Missouri State (14-7, RPI 63), which is coached by former Lady Vols point guard Kellie Harper, is in first place in the Missouri Valley Conference by virtue of an 85-79 victory over Drake on Feb. 1. Crème currently projects both teams to be among the 64 tournament teams.

Crème also has three Mid-American Conference teams - Central Michigan, Buffalo and Ohio – in his latest field.

Future results could alter those projections and open a spot or two in the field.

Furthermore, the Lady Vols’ remaining regular season schedule allows for more control of their destiny with four games against teams (Auburn, Missouri, Texas A&M and South Carolina) Crème projects to make the tournament.

“They have more opportunity than most in that position,” Crème said of the Lady Vols.

 UT’s game against Auburn Thursday night at Thompson-Boling Arena previews as a tournament play-in game for the time being. Auburn this week is among Crème’s final four teams in the field.

Tennessee won at Auburn 78-69 on Jan. 3.

Here’s how Tennessee has fared against the other three aforementioned SEC teams:

Missouri: A 66-64 loss to the Tigers in Knoxville on Jan. 6 was the beginning of a six-game losing streak. The Lady Vols, who play in Columbia, Mo., on Sunday, have lost their last two games against Missouri and all-SEC guard Sophie Cunningham. The total margin has been six points.

Texas A&M: The Aggies, who are led by all-SEC guard Chennedy Carter, are more balanced offensively than earlier in the season. The Lady Vols have split their last two meetings in the series. They’ll return to College Station, Texas, on Feb. 21, where they’ve lost in overtime on their last two visits.

South Carolina: The NCAA Division I women’s basketball committee’s initial reveal of the top 16 seeds on Monday had the Gamecocks as a No. 3 seed in Greensboro, N.C. They’ll visit Knoxville on Feb. 24.

With former star A’ja Wilson having graduated, South Carolina has evolved into a more guard-oriented team. Wilson missed two games against Tennessee last season because of injury and UT won both games.

* * *

Dan Fleser is a 1980 graduate of the University of Missouri who covered University of Tennessee athletics for the Knoxville News Sentinel from 1988-2019. He can be reached at danfleser3@gmail.com 


 


AA South Baseball Standings

UTC's Conroy Shoots 2-Over At NCAA Regionals

Covenant's Kay Named To NFCA All-Region First Team


AA-South Standings/Results (as of games of 5/15/22) North Division Team W L PCT GB Tennessee (CHC) ... (click for more)

Chattanooga Mocs sophomore Paul Conroy shot 2-over 74 to open the NCAA Norman Regionals. He went out in 36 and came home in 38 for his total at Jimmie Austin OU Golf Club. His opening tally is ... (click for more)

Covenant softball freshman third base Lauren Kay was named to the NFCA All-Region VI first team, announced the organization on Monday. Kay becomes the third Scot to collect NFCA All-Region ... (click for more)



Sports

AA South Baseball Standings

AA-South Standings/Results (as of games of 5/15/22) North Division Team W L PCT GB Tennessee (CHC) 21 12 .636 - Rocket City (LAA) 18 15 .545 3.0 Chattanooga (CIN) 17 16 ... (click for more)

UTC's Conroy Shoots 2-Over At NCAA Regionals

Chattanooga Mocs sophomore Paul Conroy shot 2-over 74 to open the NCAA Norman Regionals. He went out in 36 and came home in 38 for his total at Jimmie Austin OU Golf Club. His opening tally is tied for 39th overall. He started with a birdie on one and then just missed two more before bogeys at four, five and seven. He quickly righted the ship with three birdies in a row to ... (click for more)

Breaking News

Coppinger's Last Budget Does Not Include Tax Increase; County Revenues Are Up $11.1 Million

Outgoing County Mayor Jim Coppinger said Tuesday morning that his final budget to the County Commission does not include a property tax increase. He noted that the county schools did not ask for a tax hike, and he said county general government will not either. Spending in the current fiscal year is at $833 million. The county fund balance (rainy day fund) is at $130 million. ... (click for more)

New DA Will Have Lot Of Spots To Fill; Prosecutor Andrew Coyle Is 1st To Depart

The new Hamilton County District Attorney (either John Allen Brooks or Coty Wamp) will have a lot of room to refashion the office with many experienced prosecutors and staff choosing to either go elsewhere or retire with the change of administration. The first to go after the recent election defeat of District Attorney Neal Pinkston is Division I supervisor Andrew Coyle, whose ... (click for more)

Opinion

Student Debt - And Response (4)

“And so we come to commencement, that glorious moment of achievement when a high school or college graduate will be awarded a hard-earned diploma and venture into a complex world full of promise and fright.” Uh-huh. Except for over 40 million young Americans who are saddled with a collective debt of well over $1.5 trillion, and who are being “blamed” by conservatives like Roy ... (click for more)

Roy Exum: Where Do We Stand?

Victor Davis Hanson is, in my opinion, one of the great conservative minds in America and I relish everything he has to write. I join him in my concern over so many things that are happening in our country. The violent crime that we felt this weekend in Buffalo and at a Presbyterian Church in California is for starters but deeper is the inflation, with the white supremacy hatred, ... (click for more)